International Women’s Day 2014 : light that fire

I was trying to type this out on Women’s Day itself but I was way too sleepy! So this was planned before the ootd post but written after :p

How was your Woman’s Day weekend?
Mine was spent being introspective.

This year’s theme for IWD is Inspiring Change.

It ties in well with the ‘fire in the belly’ theme that was spoken of on Saturday, at Aware’s IWD event.

Ex-president of the organisation Dana Lam made casts out of our bellies and we lit tea lights inside of it at the end of the evening. As a show of solidarity towards instilling that passion within us – to talk about the things that anger us, to talk about things that give us hope.

Solidarity.
Now that’s something aside from passion and change that I hope to include into my little bubble. We need more women to get along and genuinely be there for one another and appreciate each other. That sense of nurturing in a community appeals to me. It is something that I have sought out for a long time but did not find. I am so thankful for you guys, for being so loving and supportive of my endeavours through this blog. It means a whole lot to me.

Instilling passion.
I have always considered myself a passionate soul. Even during my darkest days in the past, I held on for dear life to my hopes and aspirations. That ‘fire in the belly’ Dana spoke of?
I heard that from my father for years.
I smiled to myself when I heard her speech, so reminiscent of his. Until the day I am no more, I will live my days being enthusiastic about the things that I am working on and the things I wish to accomplish. However minute, However gargantuan.

Inspiring Change.
As a newly minted Change-maker and a body positive blogger, I place great importance on this with the hope that others may feel encouraged to be their own change-makers. Nobody is too inferior to start making changes for the betterment of themselves, their loved ones and society.

What makes You proud to be a woman? What kind of changes would You like to instill in your life or inspire in others?

I’ll admit, I hated being a girl.
I was a tomboy but yet, there were things boys were allowed to do that I couldn’t. It was not safe for me to be out after a certain time. It was not right for me to dress a certain way. It was expected of me to look a certain way. I was headstrong from my childhood and that quality got me into heaps of trouble. A headstrong girl of Indian origin was frowned upon.

I was chided for being tardy with learning the ropes of house keeping, sewing and cooking. “What will your husband say next time? He won’t pick up after you”.

Actually mom and dad, my husband doesn’t mind doing so at all. He does not consider it a ‘woman’s job’, he does not feel emasculated and he certainly does not think these chores are beneath him.

My folks still look at me and tut-tut when I tell them about my suppers with friends that last until 7 in the morning. “Don’t you feel scared being alone? Doesn’t Suresh say anything?”

No, Im not scared. I am cautious.
No, he does not have anything to say except for “remember to bring your house keys”.

As a woman, I feel like I am always under scrutiny. People assume it is okay to tell me what to do, how to look, how to diet and lose weight, what to do to please my husband.

As an Indian woman, I am in much further scrutiny. Whispers of “oh she does not want children yet” or “she acts like she is single, going out with her friends all the time” or “she is so aggressive and arrogant for a girl”.
Being outspoken = Aggression.
Being Self Assured & Well Spoken = Arrogance.

So who do we instill change in here?
The parents? Children? Teachers?

The answer is Everyone.
Men need to learn that women are not easy to push around and when we say No, we mean it so don’t touch us without our consent. If you can garland us in a Hindu temple and pay your respects, you should be able to respect us mortal women. We were not put here on this planet to serve you. We were not created to be your punching bags. We are your equal.

Women need to learn that we can often be our worst enemies. We do not have to sit there and endure. We do not have to hate on other women who we are envious of. Men are not always the enemy. If we bring up the boys and men in our lives with valuable life lessons, they will not be another woman’s worst nightmare but instead their partner, ally, muse.

On this International Women’s Day,
these are the thoughts that have crossed my mind.

Here’s to womankind.
xxxo Aarti Olivia

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